12 Types of Pickles You Need to Know

Learn about popular pickle types, from dill to bread and butter.

Photo: Blaine Moats

Love 'em or hate 'em, it's probably hard to avoid pickled cucumbers in your day-to-day life. Pickles are just about everywhere — from charcuterie boards to hamburgers and deli sandwiches.

There are all sorts of ways to make and enjoy pickles. Whether you buy jars at the grocery store or make them at home, you probably have a favorite pickle type.

Need a refresher? Here's what you need to know about the most popular types of pickles, from dill to cornichon (and everything in between!):

Lacto-fermentation vs. Vinegar Pickling

There are two ways pickles can be processed: through lacto-fermentation or with vinegar. If you're making pickles at home, you're likely processing them in a vinegar-based brine using a hot water bath. These pickles last a long time, but the high heat processing depletes the vitamin content. You can also ferment pickles naturally by soaking them in a salty brine for a few weeks or months. These aren't as shelf stable as their vinegar-brined counterpart, but they retain more nutrients.

Dill Pickles

Ukrainian Dill and Garlic Pickles in a white bowl
Allrecipes Magazine

The most popular pickle type is probably the dill pickle. It's brine is made with a generous dose of (you guessed it!) dill weed, so the resulting pickles have a strong herbaceous flavor.

Genuine Dill

Genuine dill pickles are as no-frills as it gets. Cucumbers are processed slowly in a vinegar or salt solution, and then dill is added to the end of fermentation.

Kosher Dill

No matter what you may have heard, kosher pickles aren't necessarily made in accordance with Jewish dietary laws. The name "kosher" likely refers to the garlicky brine, which was once associated with Jewish pickle makers in New York City.

Polish and German Dill

German and Polish pickles are traditionally processed in wooden barrels instead of glass jars, which contributes to their unique flavor. Their long processing times mean they need fewer spices and seasonings than other types of pickles. One common variety is called ogorek malosolny, which means "low-salt cucumber."

Overnight Dill

Overnight pickles, also called "refrigerator pickles," are aptly named: They soak in a brine for a short period of time (usually overnight, but sometimes up to three or four days) in the fridge and they're ready to enjoy by morning.

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Sweet Pickles

Chef John's Bread and Butter Pickles

Surprise, surprise: Sweet pickles are … sweet. They're usually made with sugar and sometimes other spices.

Bread and Butter

If you're a fan of the sweet-savory flavor combo, bread and butter pickles are for you. This variety is usually jarred with some combination of these ingredients: vinegar, salt, sugar, mustard seeds, coriander seeds, and celery seeds.

Candied Pickles

Candied pickles are just dill pickles that have been soaked in a sugar-vinegar solution for at least a week. The sweet brine is so sugary, it's almost like a syrup.

Gherkin Pickles

Blaine Moats

Gherkins (sometimes called baby pickles) are small, bumpy cucumbers that are mainly used for pickling. Since they're so tiny, gherkins are usually jarred whole. When people say "gherkin" in the U.S., they're usually referring to a specific type of pickle. In Europe, however, "gherkin" is used to refer to all types of pickled cucumbers.


"Cornichon" is the French word for "gherkin." Some gherkin varieties are sweet, but this popular type is brined with tarragon for a uniquely savory flavor. You'll often find these tiny pickles served as a side or on charcuterie boards.

Sour Pickles

Refrigerator Dill Pickles

Sour pickles are fermented without vinegar in a brine of water and pickling salt. If they're eaten before 6 weeks, they're called "half-sour." After that, they're considered fully sour.


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